Wouldja look at that expression on Pil Joo’s face? That’s pure determination, backed with a calculated shrewdness that smacks of danger. Wow. I feel rather hypnotized, honestly.
I hope you guys are ready to chat about Money Flower episodes 17 & 18! Here are our usual ground rules, before we begin:
1. Please don’t post spoilers in the Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point. I repeat: no spoilers for future episodes please! We have quite a few first-time viewers among us, and we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.
2. Discussions on this thread don’t have to close when newer threads open, just so you know! But as we progress through our group watch, please keep the discussions clear of spoilers from future episodes, so that future readers coming to this thread won’t be accidentally spoiled. Does that make sense?
Without further ado, here are my reactions to this pair of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
The secrets are coming out faster than I’d imagined, this episode, and man, does this throw a lot into disarray. 😱
The way Mo Hyun confronts Pil Joo about his secret feels very measured and deliberate. It feels like she’s thought about the various pieces for a long time, and has comes to terms with the fact that there is a complicated story behind Pil Joo’s decision to hide his identity and live in such close proximity to Cheong A.
I feel that it’s worth noting, that even through all of this, Mo Hyun still displays her trademark empathy. Even as she considered Pil Joo’s various identities, along with the fragments of his story that she knows, Mo Hyun takes the time to think about what had caused Pil Joo to attempt to take his own life, as a teenager, and she acknowledges that it must have been something so terrible and despicable that she can’t even fathom it.
Perhaps it’s partly Mo Hyun’s honest, considered, thoughtful approach; perhaps it’s also partly the fact that there’s no getting around the truth of the necklace, now that his words about having received it from his father, are laid out next to what Ms. Icheon had told Mo Hyun about the father-to-son tradition around it; Pil Joo’s actually agrees to tell Mo Hyun the bald, ugly truth, provided she’s ready to hear it, and I’m somewhat nervous in response.
That truth includes how Pil Joo had manipulated people and events, in order to have Mo Hyun marry Boo Cheon, and that’s the thing that’s quite foundational to Mo Hyun’s character. I can’t help thinking that she can’t possibly take this well. 😬
Meanwhile, Boo Cheon shows some.. unexpected colors, in his efforts to stand on his own strength, without Pil Joo’s help.
I’m honestly quite startled at how he threatens Seo Won with a knife, to get her to drop her intention of holding the press conference. That’s so unlike Boo Cheon, who’s, up to this point, come across as bumbling and benign. Now, though, there is a hardness and what appears to be shades of crazy, in his eyes, as he “pleads” with Seo Won. Plus, it all feels so calculated, with Boo Cheon even making arrangements for Ha Jung to be taken out of the room, so that he wouldn’t be startled by the violent conversation he knows he’s about to have with Seo Won.
It’s all very disorienting, and it feels like Boo Cheon’s a completely different person, almost. I’m quite shocked, really, that this kind of violent, manipulative behavior seems to come so naturally to Boo Cheon; perhaps he’s learned a lot, while growing up around his mother?
It’s only afterwards, while Boo Cheon cries in the car, that I feel like there’s a disconnect between the person Boo Cheon wants to be, and the person that he sees himself becoming. In this moment, it almost feels like he’s mourning the loss of the good(ish) person he’d wanted to be.
What’s interesting to me, though, is how, after Boo Cheon’s cried those tears, he doesn’t seem to slow down at all, in his decision to embrace depravity. Right after his cry in the car, he makes it a point to let Mal Ran and Pil Joo see him replacing the dagger in Mal Ran’s desk drawer, and later in the episode, he even goes to Yong Goo’s hideout uninvited, to assert his presence. He’s clearly decided that he wants to play hardball with Pil Joo, even if it means forsaking his perceived self in order to do so.
On a tangent, I just wanted to highlight that scene where Mal Ran’s all upset because Secretary Oh’s not being of help to Boo Cheon, Pil Joo’s allowed Boo Cheon to see Seo Won on his own, and she can’t get hold of Boo Cheon on the phone. The way she blurts out angrily, that there’s not a single man in Mooshimwon that she likes, I can’t help but think of how she tends to use her charms on men, in order to get what she wants. We’ve seen her do that with both Secretary Oh and Pil Joo, and now that both of them aren’t behaving in ways that align with what she wants, she can’t help but throw a bit of a tantrum.
Like I mention in my review of this show, this thing about Mal Ran just makes me feel a measure of disdain for her. It’s like she’s practically nothing, without her charms to manipulate the men around her. Definitely not the sort of role model I think young women should aspire to, for sure. 😪
While we’re on the topic of Mal Ran, I also think it’s worth noting that when Mal Ran notices the change in Boo Cheon, instead of becoming alarmed (as most normal human beings would, if they realized that their son was threatening someone else with a dagger), she actually gives credit to Pil Joo, that Boo Cheon’s managed to change so much, thanks to Pil Joo’s encouragement. This is Dysfunctional with a capital D, yes?
For all her twistedness, Mal Ran is pretty sharp, too. She picks up right away, on the fact that Mo Hyun appears oddly attached to a necklace that she claims to have simply picked up while on a field trip many years ago, which means that Mal Ran will henceforth be even more suspicious of anything to do with Mo Hyun and the necklace.
With the necklace changing hands several times this episode, from Mo Hyun to Pil Joo, and then back to Mo Hyun, and then to Mal Ran, and then to Boo Cheon, it feels like this web is getting more and more tangled, and I can’t help wondering how Pil Joo, as the rightful owner of the necklace, will ever get it back.
I’m very satisfied, though, with the way Pil Joo eliminates Yeo Cheon from his chessboard, by waiting for the right time to have Secretary Woo reveal to Grandpa Chairman, that Yeo Cheon was the one pushing for Seo Won to have a press conference. You gotta love Yeo Cheon’s shocked expression, as he processes the information, that he’s about to be sent off to informal exile in Myanmar, and therefore won’t be able to compete with Boo Cheon for the position of Vice Chairman. Muahaha.
In terms of surprising developments to wrap up our episode, I’m surprised that Boo Cheon – after telling Secretary Oh not to wait outside for him anymore, no less – actually seeks out Secretary Oh and confides in him that Pil Joo is actually Jang Eun Cheon. Ooh. I hadn’t seen that coming. It looks like Boo Cheon trusts Secretary Oh a great deal, if he’s willing to share that secret with him.
At the same time, I also think that the secret is so great, and his need to talk about it, so strong, that Boo Cheon might possibly choose a confidante, even if he’s only partially sure of that person’s reliability. Boo Cheon does look genuinely hurt, as he talks about how Pil Joo had kept this secret from him, for so many years.
On a tangent, it occurs to me that it must be complicated to be Secretary Oh right now; he’s got so many secrets, along with the many permutations of who knows what, to keep track of. 😝
I’m also surprised that Pil Joo is the one to seek out Mo Hyun, to talk about the truth, rather than the other way around. Somehow, I’d expected him to buy some time, by waiting for Mo Hyun to come to him. Instead, he sets the stage, and even calls Boo Cheon to let him know what he’s about to do. It smells like some sort of suicide mission, because he’s so deliberately setting it up so that he will come out looking like the blame belongs on his shoulders alone.
As expected, Mo Hyun doesn’t take well to the truth, and slaps Pil Joo. What I hadn’t expected, is how quickly she turns that blame on herself, and starts slapping herself, for falling into the trap that he’d set for her.
It’s heartbreaking to hear Mo Hyun talk about how terrified she’d been, when she’d dived into the water to save him, because she was afraid that he wouldn’t make it. It’s crazy to think that after all she’d done to save him, this is her unexpected “reward,” where her entire life is completely messed up, because of the boy she’d saved. How distressed Mo Hyun must be, to state that she’d have rather died in that car crash, so that she would’ve never come to know the ugly truth. Oof. That’s gotta hurt.
What a tortured, painful embrace, that Pil Joo gives Mo Hyun. I can’t help feeling like now, Pil Joo hates himself more than ever, and is even more ready to destroy himself than before. 😳💔
Woah. 😳 We get some Very Significant Developments this episode, and Show’s once again left my head spinning, as I try to figure out where Show is planning to take us next.
As Pil Joo confirms that Mal Ran, Grandpa Chairman, and even President Jang and Yeo Cheon had been aware of the scheme behind Mo Hyun’s marriage to Boo Cheon, it feels like a little more of Mo Hyun dies on the inside.
On the surface, Mo Hyun appears to still want to preserve her marriage to Boo Cheon, with the way she calmly tells him that she wants to go home, but her words to him outside the house, show how things stack up in her estimation.
“I was relieved, Boo Cheon-sshi, that from the marriage Kang Pil Joo had set up, at least the love between us had been real, but now, I don’t have anything left… because you disregarded our relationship.” Ooh. Burnnn. 🔥
That’s really quite grounded of her, to be able to keep things in focus, even though a bombshell’s just been dropped on her. She’s cognizant of the fact that, marriage scheme notwithstanding, she and Boo Cheon had actually been in love for real. I feel like if Boo Cheon hadn’t betrayed her, she would still find value in their marriage, despite its dubious beginnings.
I’m pleased about this, because it reminds Boo Cheon that his fault is greater, in betraying Mo Hyun, even though all he’d like to do right now, is blame Pil Joo for everything.
How disturbing is it, that Grandpa Chairman basically berates Mal Ran for not managing to get rid of Mo Hyun, the way she’d gotten rid of the children that her husband had had out of wedlock. Dude. He’s basically showing disapproval, because Mal Ran hasn’t had Mo Hyun murdered yet? 😱🤯
And then, when Mo Hyun plays him the damning recording of his conversation with Congressman Na, where he’d pleasantly suggested suicide as a means of cleaning up the situation, instead of feeling any sense of shame or embarrassment, Grandpa Chairman acts as if he’s righteously offended, and accuses Mo Hyun of criticizing him.
How crazy is it, that Mo Hyun, the one who’s wronged, becomes the guilty party in this situation, even though she has evidence of Grandpa Chairman’s wrongdoing?
This is so twisted, seriously. This whole scene has echoes of the court politics we see in sageuks, where a king might get offended at a subject for daring to question why the king had sentenced an innocent party to death. But the thing is, we aren’t in a sageuk world, and Grandpa Chairman isn’t a king, so this all feels extremely deviant and bizarre.
I guess this is just how things roll, on Planet Cheong A. Earthly laws and morals need not apply.
I can understand why Mo Hyun would feel the need to get herself a stiff drink; that’s probably the only way she can see, to escape this absurd reality that she lives in, even if it’s just for a while. Too bad for Boo Cheon, that that stiff drink translates into Mo Hyun earnestly saying Pil Joo’s name, in her dreams.
I’m not surprised that Mal Ran talks to Secretary Oh about potentially killing Mo Hyun, since he’s been her go-to killer for so long. And, I’m also not surprised that Mal Ran would confront Pil Joo about whether he knew about Grandpa Chairman’s conversation with Congressman Na.
What does surprise me, is how Pil Joo volunteers the information, that he’s told Mo Hyun about the scheme that had resulted in her marriage to Boo Cheon. I’m fascinated by the fact that Mal Ran consistently doesn’t see anything wrong with the fact that they had meddled in Mo Hyun’s life without her knowledge, and had lied, in order to get her to marry Boo Cheon.
“Is she complaining about her first encounter after five years? If you didn’t plan it for her, she could never have imagined of becoming Cheong A’s daughter-in-law.”
The way Mal Ran puts it, it’s almost as if they had done Mo Hyun a favor, by making arrangements for her to marry Boo Cheon.
How telling, that when Boo Cheon confronts Pil Joo to ask him why he’d told Mo Hyun the truth, Boo Cheon concludes – albeit with shades of desperation in his eyes – that it’s just as well, because now he can start over with Mo Hyun, and it’s Pil Joo who suggests that they respect Mo Hyun’s decision. And yet, even when he’s reminded so directly, that he’s not thinking about what Mo Hyun wants, Boo Cheon chooses to question Pil Joo, about whether Pil Joo’s planning to start over with Mo Hyun, after getting her out of Cheong A.
When Boo Cheon’s not even channeling his new, “evil” self, and is just being his normal self, and yet still talks like this, where he only shows self-interest, I really don’t like him very much.
“The first meeting where I approached her intentionally has always bothered me like a fish bone in my throat.” Really, Boo Cheon? You’re only bothered about how you felt, even though it was Mo Hyun whose life was getting messed with? If you love Mo Hyun as much as you say you do, where is your compassion for her? 🙄
With Boo Cheon and Mal Ran behaving in such distasteful ways, I can’t help getting satisfaction from seeing how Pil Joo basically engineers them into losing a huge chunk of shares – to the tune of 500 billion dollars! – as a way to freshen up Daeil Distribution’s image before it gets listed.
Pil Joo’s so sneaky and so shrewd. It’s completely his idea, but he manages to get Grandpa Chairman to embrace the idea as his own, and announce it as his own, and even apply pressure on Mal Ran and Boo Cheon as if it’s a personal offense to him, if they protest. Pil Joo’s so smooth, while looking so uninvolved and so innocent; I love it. 🤩
Boo Cheon’s clearly feeling more and more threatened by Pil Joo. The way he even trains his rifle at Pil Joo while they’re at the shooting range, says a lot, even though Boo Cheon brushes it off as a joke. He definitely is starting to toy with the idea of getting rid of Pil Joo, and he even says the words out loud to Secretary Oh – “Please kill Pil Joo for me” – and then follows it up with a caveat that while it’s a joke today, Secretary Oh should oblige, when Boo Cheon seriously asks him to carry out the task. Dang. That’s cold.
I suppose, using the analogy of the sageuk, everything becomes a different story, when an old friend is suddenly direct competition for the throne. 😬
I’m intrigued by Pil Joo’s suggestion to Secretary Oh, that he consider leaving Mooshimwon, before Boo Cheon becomes the Vice Chairman. Even though Secretary Oh is Mal Ran’s tool of choice when it comes to killing others, my gut tells me that Pil Joo’s suggestion perhaps has more to do with protecting Boo Cheon’s reputation (by removing his birth father from his context), rather than getting rid of Secretary Oh for the sake of it. Could it be an act of mercy on Pil Joo’s part? 🤔
I have to admit, I was very surprised by Boo Cheon’s move to bring Yeo Cheon back to Korea, instead of leaving him in exile, in Myanmar.
Clearly, he feels that it’s better to have Yeo Cheon on his side as he fights against Pil Joo, and clearly, Pil Joo picks up on it too, judging from the way he immediately checks the CCTV footage from his hospital room.
Just as Pil Joo had suspected, Boo Cheon had taken Pil Joo’s DNA for a test, and it’s clear that Boo Cheon is now in on Pil Joo’s secret.
I’m so impressed that even though this comes out of left field for Pil Joo, he is so quick and decisive, in terms of determining his next steps. That scene of his putting on his necklace (which we see that he’d swapped with his brother’s, so that the original necklace stayed with him), and getting dressed for battle, has similar coiled panther undercurrents, as the scene when he’d just woken up from his coma at the hospital.
I am so wowed by how Pil Joo just walks up to Grandpa Chairman and announces that he is Grandpa Chairman’s eldest grandson, Jang Eun Cheon. Woah. Talk about making an impression! 🤩
I’ve been waiting to see Grandpa Chairman’s face upon realizing Pil Joo’s true identity, and he does not disappoint. I love that shocked, blindsided, and completely flabbergasted expression on his face.
In contrast, Pil Joo’s expression is sad and tearful, which demonstrates that this is all very personal to him. He’s not taking pleasure in Grandpa Chairman’s discombobulation, and that gives this whole scene a strong aftertaste of pathos, to my eyes.
Talk about a confrontation between two powerful forces. 😱 I have no idea how this conversation is going to go, but I can’t wait to find out.